‘Clash’ of the Titans

As I strolled Madison Avenue this past weekend, most of the store windows lining the elegant streets seem to have been filled with merchandise and decorations redolent in black, white, gold, silver, and maybe a touch of forest green and Christmas red. It was only when I happened upon 69th street that I really had something to smile about.

I was instantly drawn to the exuberant and joyful explosion of fuchsia, chrome yellow, parrot green, royal blue, orange, and lacquer red nylon bags ($500 – $1500), silk nylon anorak dresses ($1995), and bi color cap toe ballet flats ($430 -$450) from resort and spring 2007, filling the windows of the Prada store at 841 Madison Avenue, (212 327 4200).

If ever there was ever a designer who could single handedly make clashing primaries colors look instantly chic it is Miuccia Prada. With one wave of her magic wand, arguably the most influential designer in the world can alter the direction of fashion and point the fashion faithful in a new direction. And mark my words, it will happen.

After seasons of ‘tastefully’ subdued, intellectual black and brown, and pale neutral shades of white, ivory, and beige, the shock of ‘in your face’, naïve, almost juvenile primary colors, (used in bold clashing combinations no less) suddenly looks novel and interestingly inviting. Isaac Mizrahi, a designer who has long admitted to a love affair with color, recently unveiled his color saturated couture line, admitting to WWD, “I have an obsession with color that keeps me awake at night. I always want it bigger, brighter, bolder.”

And Raf Simons, the well respected designer behind the label Jil Sander, added punches of shocking color (in addition to silver) to his minimalist spring 2007 collection when he showed in Milan this past September.

What ties the aforementioned names together along with that of Miuccia Prada is that the appeal and sophistication of their colorful clothes comes from the unfussy, spare, clean lines. Certainly, the inherent modernity of Utilitarian Chic bares the unmistakable stamp of Miuccia Prada.

By the way, in addition to the bold colors and brash color combinations, the other thing that was impossible NOT notice at Prada are the newly over scaled triangular logos which are affixed to the bags.

Remember the decades old Bottega Veneta advertising campaign (“When Your Initials Are Enough”) featuring the label’s chic logo free bags at a time when logos were running amok? I guess the way Miuccia and friends see it, their initials (or their name) are definitely something worth shouting about. As Neiman Marcus’s intuitive Fashion Director observed, “Isn’t that the whole great idea about luxury goods?” Mais Oui!

-Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

1 Comment
  1. I have been working on styling ads for a New York City based company, eenamaria, and went nuts for their bags and belt-bags.

    The designs are some of the most innovative I’ve seen, and very utilitarian. I already put an order in for their newest collection – Kensington (black and white herringbone pattern), made of the softest lambskin I’ve ever felt-maybe even more supple than the Chanel thigh-high’s (sorry Karl).

    Check out this new brand, http://www.eenamaria.com, and my fashion styling page, http://www.myspace.com/jennifersennott.

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